Apprio, Inc. v. Zaccari

Judge: Wilkins
Opinion Date: June 21, 2024

The case revolves around a dispute between Apprio, Inc., a government contractor, and its former employee, Neil Zaccari. Zaccari, a Senior Technical Manager at Apprio, had developed a regulatory compliance software prior to his employment. During his tenure, he updated the software, demonstrated it at work, and handed it over to Apprio upon request. Apprio then sent Zaccari a document titled “Proprietary Information and Assignment of Inventions Agreement,” which Zaccari acknowledged through Apprio’s human resources portal. After his termination, Zaccari copyrighted the updated software and sued Apprio for breaching the agreement when it allegedly forced him to turn over a copy of the software to an Apprio client. In response, Apprio countersued Zaccari for breaching the agreement when he refused to assign his rights in the updated software to Apprio.

The District Court combined the cases, dismissed Zaccari’s case for failure to state a claim, and granted partial and full summary judgment for Apprio with respect to contractual assignment of rights in the updated software and its breach of contract claim. Zaccari appealed, arguing that the agreement is not an enforceable contract and, alternatively, that the agreement neither supports the assignment of his rights in the updated software to Apprio nor a finding that he breached the agreement.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed with Zaccari’s arguments. The court held that Zaccari’s “acknowledgment” of the agreement created an enforceable contract that requires Zaccari to assign his rights in the updated software to Apprio. Accordingly, Zaccari breached the binding agreement by failing to assign those rights to Apprio and disclosing the updated software’s underlying code to the U.S. Copyright Office in order to obtain the copyright. The court affirmed the District Court’s decision. View “Apprio, Inc. v. Zaccari” on Justia Law

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